Of Airborne Wings and C.I.B.
by Claude A. Frisbie
While just a boy, of average life
Sometimes I encountered what I thought strife.
When things got hard, or I didn’t like
My solution was to ‘Take a hike’.
Eventually the light came on,
And I saw that quitting had become my song.
Ducking out had become so easy to do.
Facing problems was what I eschewed.
I knew I needed to change my ways,
If I was to succeed after high school days.
Maybe the military could help my case,
Would I go forward, or again “About Face”?
I’m not sure why, but the thought of Airborne Wings,
Soon became my fervent dream.
There was Basic, then A.I.T.,
“What a snap”, I thought in ignorance glee.
Then I discovered what made that Silver refine,
Three weeks of jump school Hell, that’s what makes it shine!
More than one thought of quitting soon came to me,
But a man, is what I wanted to be.
Through ‘Black Hats” shouts of “DOUBLE TIME”,
And endless pushing Georgia, twenty more down the line,
Finally there came “Stand in the Door”,
Jumping out and a count to “Four”
I’ve come this far; I’m not going back!
Yea its hell, but I’m learning this too, I can hack.
It’s almost done, just one more week.
I’ve climbed this mountain, I can see the peak!
Then at last came that pride filled day.
With wings on my chest, I had found my way.
At last I thought, “I’ve become a man!”
(But I had yet to experience; Viet Nam!).
Soon to a distant land I would go.
But I’m AIRBORNE, I can face the foe.
Still, how unaware of what lie ahead,
This young trooper didn’t know of what there was to dread.
There was living in the jungle for months on end.
Leeches, snakes, and myriad of other tormentors, we tried to fend.
Monsoon rains or stifling heat,
Such as these we had to beat.
Dining on ‘C-rats’ or occasional ‘LURPS’,
Of these, yea maybe we bitched or occasionally chirped.
But then there’s Thanksgiving and our feast on ‘choppers delivered,
In OD insulated cans (and in the rain we shivered).
Of loneliness, and loved ones missed,
Dreaming of those we long to kiss.
Simple pleasures like a glass of milk
And other longed for ‘treasurers’ of similar ilk.
Humping hills with loaded ‘rucks’,
We’re not much more than human trucks.
Carrying 60’s, 79’s, or P.R.C.’s
Loads that seem they could buckle even the biggest man’s knees.
The list goes on, too long to mention
During our time of this strained detention.
Still, all these troubles are a mere trifle
When you’re just a grunt carrying a rifle.
Then comes the time that forever remains intact.
When first you hear that yell of “CONTACT”!
Tracers overhead begin to stream
And stricken comrades begin to scream.
Cries of “MEDIC!!” they begin to shout,
While machine guns rattle and explosions burst all about.
Confusion seems master in that suspended realm
And you see it all, as if watching a film.
Somehow you manage to do what you’ve been taught
(seems now I found that, which I had sought).
The fight wears on- and then its still..
Have we really taken this hill?
I pause, and look around.
This indeed has become “Hallowed” ground.
Broken bodies surround me here,
I realize that my eternity came oh so near.
Death has claimed its priceless tribute
And good men have paid, that you can’t refute.
Yet, what have I gained from this morass.
There’s somewhere a meaning, that I can’t pass.
There’s more horror to war, than my feeble attempts can scribe,
And there’ll be many more days for me, of this bloody tide.
Still I’m searching, what does this mean for me?
Will I learn anything, or just let it be?
Sometime later it comes to me,
While I receive my C.I.B.
What means this “Silver Rifle” surrounded by “Wreath”?
Does it only hold memories of fear, sorrow and grief?
I faced the fire, and shown my mettle,
Now I wear this simple medal.
Wait, the memories flood back of heroes- others,
Now I AM a member of that “Band of Brothers”.
My days of war have since long gone,
But it’s my brothers, I remember in the stillness of my home.
Those that gave all, we most treasure;
But those who served and lived, give us great pleasure!
Other accolades have come my way,
Which I humbly honor to this day,
But dare you ask what means most to me?
They’re my AIRBORNE WINGS and C.I.B!!!
(Dedicated to my Brothers, Living and Deceased) March 22, 2004
Claude A. Frisbie
Co. A 1/327th Inf. 1st Brigade 101st Airborne Division Vietnam:
July 1966-June 1967
Spt. Bn. 1st Brigade 101st Airborne Division Vietnam:
July 67-February 1968